California’s protection & advocacy system

For legal assistance call 800-776-5746. For all other purposes call 916-504-5800 in Northern CA

or 213-213-8000 in Southern CA. TTY 800-719-5798.


Jails & Juvenile Facilities Advocacy

"We will never achieve justice in this country until we have the courage to look unblinkingly into the hidden corners of our system of mass incarceration, where men and women are locked away and forgotten." Van Jones, author of Rebuild the Dream.​


DRC has begun an ambitious project to improve the conditions of prisoners with disabilities in California jails and juvenile detention facilities.  Using our monitoring authority, DRC is continuing the important work it performed in Fresno and Los Angeles Counties, by inspecting the conditions in local facilities, meeting with prisoners, and reviewing medical records.  DRC is particularly looking at three areas that are important for prisoners with disabilities: (1) isolation and solitary confinement; (2) adequacy of medical and mental health care; and (3) administration of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  This page summarizes and highlights DRC’s current and past work in this area.


Legal Advocacy



Murray v. County of Santa Barbara; Prisoners file class action lawsuit for failures to provide basic health care and to meet ADA requirements at the Santa Barbara County Jail.

Johnson v. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department was filed in 2008 to obtain access to basic services for inmates with disabilities; granted class action status in 2012.

Case against Fresno jail for its lack of medical and mental health services for prisoners with disabilities

Stringfellow et al. v. Sacramento County et al.: Case to prevent restraints of dialysis patients in Sacramento jail


Public Reports

Sonoma County Jail
Report on Inspection of Sonoma County Main Adult Detention Facility (Conducted on August 25,2015)

Sacramento County Jail
Report on Inspection of the Sacramento County Jail (Conducted April 13-14, 2015) 

San Diego Juvenile Detention Facilities
Report on Inspection of the San Diego Juvenile Detention Facilities (Conducted on September 24, 2015)

Santa Barbara County Jail
Report on Inspection of the Santa Barbara County Jail (Conducted on April 2, 2015)

San Francisco Youth Guidance Center
Report on San Francisco Youth Guidance Center (Conducted on April 28 and July 9, 2015)


Public Comments

State Task Force on Criminal Justice and Mental Health (July 25, 2017)



- How does AB 109 affect reduction of charges from felony misdemeanor and expungement? (pdf) (rtf) (Pub #CM44.01, May 2014) Also available in Spanish (pdf)Korean (pdf)Chinese (pdf)Vietnamese (pdf)Russian (pdf)Ukrainian (pdf)Arabic (pdf) and Japanese (pdf).

- Prison and Jail Realignment under California’s Assembly Bill (AB) 109 (pdf) (rtf) (Pub #CM42.01, April 2014)Also available in Spanish (pdf)Korean (pdf)Chinese (pdf)Vietnamese (pdf)Russian (pdf)Ukrainian (pdf)Arabic (pdf) and Japanese (pdf).

- Your Constitutional Right to Adequate Mental Health Care in Jails or Prisons (pdf) (rtf) (Pub #CM28.01, December 2013) Now also availabile in Spanish (pdf)Korean (pdf)Chinese (pdf)Vietnamese (pdf) and Russian (pdf)




Press Releases

12/6/2017 - Prisoners file federal class action lawsuit against Santa Barbara County

5/16/2016 - Disability Rights California report finds the Sonoma County Jail neglects prisoners with disabilities

2/25/16 - Disability Rights California issues findings of investigations into San Diego and San Francisco juvenile hall conditions

2/23/2016 - Disability Rights California report finds prisoners in the Santa Barbara Jail held in solitary, denied mental health care - Sheriff agrees to limited reforms but more are needed

10/29/2015 - Disability Rights California releases report finding excessive solitary confinement and inadequate mental health care in Sacramento County Jail

5/28/2015 - Under Proposed Settlement, Fresno County Prisoners Will No Longer Be Denied Adequate Health Care

12/15/11 - Fresno Jail Prisoners Sue Over Dangerous Conditions Prisoners Are Suffering Daily from Serious and Unnecessary Harm and Injuries

12/16/10 - Settlement announced: Los Angeles County to increase juvenile hall safety for youth with developmental disabilities


News articles about DRC

Cops Are More Likely to Arrest People with Disabilities Vice, 12/5/2017

‘Inhumane’ Conditions at Santa Barbara County Jail?, Santa Barbara Independent, 12/14/17

Federal Class Action Lawsuit Seeks Santa Barbara County Jail Changes Noozhawk, 12/11/2017

Mental Health in question at the Sonoma County Jail, KSRO, 5/19/16

Sonoma County Jail officials acknowledge mental health shortcomings, defend care, Press Democrat, 5/18/16

Disability Rights advocates expose poor conditions, neglect at Sonoma County Jail, KQED Radio, 5/17/16

DRC finds Sonoma involuntarily medicates inmates, KQED News, 5/16/16

Report claims Santa Barbara County Jail 'actively neglects' prisoners with disabilities, Santa Maria Sun, 3/1/16

DRC report says jail inmates with mental health disabilities are often mistreated, Santa Barbara Independent, 2/25/16

Disability Rights California' report slams Santa Barbara County Jail,          KEYT-TV, 2/23/16

DRC finds inmates with disabilities subjected to excessive solitary confinement in Sacramento County Jail, Sacramento News & Review, 12/17/15

Report uncovers abuse of inmates with disabilities in Sacramento Jail, Rooted in Rights, 10/31/15

DRC jail report mentioned in “The Intercept", The Intercept, 10/29/15

DRC attorney featured in ABC 7 story about jail accessibility settlement, ABC 7, 3/23/15

Court approves major class action settlement for inmates with disabilities in Los Angeles county jails,  Disability Rights Legal Center, ACLU Foundation of Southern California (ACLU SoCal), Disability Rights California, & the law firm of Winston & Strawn, LLP, 3/23/15

L.A. County settles suit alleging horrific conditions for disabled inmates, Los Angeles Times, 11/21/14

The cost of madness, Fresno Bee, 8/1/13

Wheelchair hell in men's central jail . . ., LA Weekly, 12/8/12

DRC litigation update: Judge approves class action status for case against LA County Jail by prisoners with physical disabilities, Albany Tribune, 10/16/12

Calif. suits on inmate health care likely to rise,, 4/9/12

Fresno Jail Prisoners Sue over Dangerous Conditions, Community Alliance, 1/12/12

Memorandum of points and authorities in support of plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction., 6/30/2008


SB 453 (Pan) Prisons: Involuntary medication - Oppose 4/15/2015
AB 1423 (Stone) Prisoners: Medical Treatment - Oppose 4/6/2015


Helpful Links

The Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project (Justice Center) (